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Jacksonville Ranks Low In Public Parks Study, Officials Prescribe More, Smaller Parks

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National conservation officials say Jacksonville is notable for it's abundance of public lands, but that the quantity and quality of parks could be improved.The Trust for Public Land rated the 60 largest U.S. cities on both the quantity and the quality of their public parks. While Jacksonville didn’t make a particularly good showing — it ranked 51st — organization officials say the city's park system is noteworthy nonetheless.
“You’ve got a terrific amount of parkland, very impressive," said Peter Harnik, director of the trust’s Center for City Park Excellence. "You know, many cities are so envious of the amount of land that you have. And now we have to go back and improve the land that we have and make it more usable for individual citizens and put in some smaller parks closer to their homes.” 

Harnik says the Trust for Public Land used three criteria to rate the cities: the percentage of residents who live within a half mile of a park, the percentage of land set aside for parks and per-capita spending on parks.
Jacksonville scored two out-of five on the Park Score Index, which is an improvement over last year’s score of one-and-a-half.
Minneapolis is the only city to earn a perfect five this year, followed by New York, Boston, Portland, San Francisco and Washington, each with a score of four. Ranked last on the list are Charlotte, Indianapolis, Louisville and Fresno, which each scored a one.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.